Fifteen Steps to Freedom

A J Street Haggadah

Throughout history we, as a Jewish people, have faced persecution, oppression, violence and enslavement. It is because of this history that we find it so important to celebrate our freedom in the times when we have found liberation, safety and prosperity. Coming together for the Passover seder, we retell our eternal Jewish story and commemorate our Exodus from slavery to freedom.

As we imagine ourselves as slaves fleeing Egypt, we are practicing empathy. Not just empathy for our ancestors, but for all those who, in this time, do not share our rights and freedoms.

J Street has compiled this haggadah to apply the themes and lessons of the Passover seder to what it means — in 2020 — to be pro-Israel, pro-peace and anti-occupation. What questions do we need to ask about our power, responsibility and obligations, and about the oppression faced by others? What steps can we take to make the most of our own freedom and help others toward theirs? The haggadah gives us the opportunity to share how we can fight to ensure that Israel flourishes as a secure, democratic homeland for the Jewish people, and that Palestinians are able to achieve self-determination and independence in a state of their own. It reminds us that, as long as others are suffering, our own celebratory glasses of wine are never full to the brim. This haggadah includes pieces written by friends and clergy. You can use the entire haggadah or pick out particular sections to add to your seders — whether in-person or virtual. As the seder is one long question and answer session, we hope you’ll feel inspired to ask meaningful questions — and to listen closely to each other’s answers.

Download the Haggadah

Selected Portions

The haggadah is filled with storytelling and opportunities for questions and discussions. If the full haggadah is too much, this supplement highlights original writing and conversation starters that weave together the themes of Passover with our pro-peace, anti-occupation focus:

  • Four times during the seder, we raise our wine glasses in blessing.  In this supplement, each wine glass is paired with a quote from Israeli author Amos Oz, followed by a discussion question.
  • The Four Questions come as we begin the Maggid, or story section. This version, written by J Street U leader Clare Miller, asks us “ma nishtanah” – how will this be different – how can we create change?
  • The Four Children offers a window into the different types of people we interact with in our lives.

Download the Haggadah Supplement


Sources

Our haggadah combines original writings with content we’ve pulled from some of our favorite sources.

Rabbi Rachael Bregman
Rabbi Sharon Brous
Rabbi Michael Feshbach
Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg
Jews Against the Occupation
Jessica Jacobs
Ruti Kadish
Cantor Evan Kent
Sasha Kopp
Jennifer Levine
Claire Miller
Amos Oz
Rabbi John Rosove
Rabbi Toba Spitzer
Rabbi David Teutsch
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Shaina Wasserman

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